Monday, December 30, 2013

G.K. Chesterton*

G.K. Chesterton (1874—1936) is a prolific British writer who was very influential in many spheres. His output included fiction, biographies, poetry, drama, journalism, theology, and literary and art criticism. His essay collection What's Wrong with the World (1910) was very influential on Marshall McLuhan, and Chesterton's The Everlasting Man (1925), contributed to the conversion to Christianity of C.S. Lewis. G.K. Chesterton's first poetry collection, Greybeards At Play appeared in 1900.

In 1893 he went through a crisis of skepticism and began experimenting with the occult. He later renewed his Christian faith and married Frances Blogg, who was a stabilizing spiritual influence upon him. Another significant spiritual influence was his friend Hilaire Belloc.

He and George Bernard Shaw often engaged in rollicking debates, disagreeing at every turn, and yet in the end they express deep respect for one another, and were good friends. According to his autobiography, Chesterton and Shaw played cowboys in a silent film which was never released.

A Christmas Carol

The Christ-child lay on Mary’s lap,
His hair was like a light.
(O weary, weary were the world,
But here is all aright.)

The Christ-child lay on Mary’s breast
His hair was like a star.
(O stern and cunning are the kings,
But here the true hearts are.)

The Christ-child lay on Mary’s heart,
His hair was like a fire.
(O weary, weary is the world,
But here the world’s desire.)

The Christ-child stood on Mary’s knee,
His hair was like a crown,
And all the flowers looked up at Him,
And all the stars looked down.

*This is the second Kingdom Poets post about G.K. Chesterton: first post, third post.

Entry written by D.S. Martin. His new poetry collection, Conspiracy of Light: Poems Inspired by the Legacy of C.S. Lewis, is available from Wipf & Stock as is his earlier award-winning collection, Poiema.